Sitting on the scenic banks of the Pere Marquette River in Baldwin, Michigan, the Shrine of the Pines looks more like it was grown than carved, but each piece of hand-carved furniture on display in this lush hunting lodge is a little memorial to one man’s favorite tree.
The Shrine of the Pines is the work of one Raymond W. Overholzer. A hunter and taxidermist in the 1920s, one of Overholzer’s favorite places to roam was the Manistee National Forest, which at the time was home to widespread logging that nearly exterminated the white pine trees in the area. Fearing that the logging industry would soon eliminate the white pine entirely, he began collecting stumps and other remnants, and fashioning small pieces of furniture, and mounts for his taxidermy out of them using nothing more than hand tools, joinery, and glue.
As his collection of hand-carved memorials grew unwieldy, Overholzer built the log cabin that would come to be known as the Shrine of the Pines in 1939, just to house all of his creations. The cabin itself was also made out of white pine. Among the collection of items he created were a giant table made from a single massive stump, a gnarled set of chairs that maintained the chaotic curves and gnarls of the original wood, countless pieces of taxidermy, and more.
Overholzer continued to work on his collection of handicrafts until his death in 1952, eventually leaving behind 201 pieces inside the shrine. The cabin shrine is still open today, displaying Overholzer’s amazing body of work.